Lone Tree Girls Basketball Season Preview

Young players step up for Lone Tree basketball

By Jeff Yoder
Posted 11/23/21

The Lone Tree girls basketball team lost three senior starters to graduation over the offseason, including leading scorer and 3-point threat Maddie Jacque. 

That void has created an …

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Lone Tree Girls Basketball Season Preview

Young players step up for Lone Tree basketball

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The Lone Tree girls basketball team lost three senior starters to graduation over the offseason, including leading scorer and 3-point threat Maddie Jacque. 

That void has created an opportunity for some young players who might lack varsity experience, but bring energy and athleticism to the court. 

“We have some girls that are young and inexperienced in our lineup, but those are opportunities to show us what you’re made of,” head coach Ryan Shelman said. 

“I will say, what has made me the most excited about this group is that they are all very coachable. They seem to be ready to work as a team, ready to play together. 

“It might not show up in the stat book but we’re definitely going to get better throughout the season because our girls are coachable. So that makes me excited as a coach.”

The Lady Lions do return starters Kasey Chown and Maddie McCullough, who are both seniors this year. Both are stepping up and embracing their roles as team leaders. 

“It’s just a really young team this year, so we’re really excited to watch them grow and develop and learn the game and pass on our knowledge and skills,” McCullough said. “I think we’re really going to improve our offense. We’ve got a lot of good shooters, a lot of good people that are willing to put in the work.”

McCullough led Lone Tree with 36 assists in 15 games while Chown was second in the conference with an average of 10.5 rebounds per contest. Chown also had the best field goal and 3-point percentage on the team while averaging 11.3 points per game. 

Chloe Mills played limited minutes as a junior, but is stepping into a starting role early this year. 

“I think our seniors have done a phenomenal job,” Shelman said about his team’s leadership. “They’ve done a good job of just making sure that the girls are at practice on time, and doing what they’re supposed to be doing. (The seniors) are going to have to be vocal this year, because we don’t have a lot of them. Those girls have to step up, not only vocally but they have to show them through their actions. And I think that through these first two games and in practice, the first couple weeks they’ve done that.”

Riley Krueger has moved into the starting lineup as a junior. Last year, all six of her field goals came from beyond the 3-point line, but her role will be expanding this season. Avery Lisk had just five points as a freshman last year, but has scored nine in each of her first two games as a starter. Freshman Rylee Shield will be one of the first players off the bench for Shelman, and impressed in her first game.

“She had a lot of rebounds for us, a lot of put backs and those are those energy plays that our team needs,” Shelman said. Cate Sexton and Bailey McGrew will see minutes in the Lone Tree rotation as well. 

“I feel like we have a lot of pieces that we can move around and do some different things with our lineup,” Shelman said. “Tonight, late in the game, we kind of went more of a spread style, and we’re able to spread teams out. But if they want to play big, I feel like we could still match up there. So, I do feel like we have some pieces that we can work with.”

 

Lone Tree 38, Keota 29

After a Keota 3-pointer cut Lone Tree’s lead to eight in the fourth quarter on Saturday, Kasey Chown put her head down, drove left and put up a shot from the paint. The ball rolled around the rim for a second before it dropped through, restoring the double-digit lead and giving Chown 15 for the game. 

Chown’s free throw in the final seconds made the final score 38-29 in favor of Lone Tree. The Lady Lions dropped the season opener to Iowa Valley on Friday, but bounced back to earn a split in the annual Four Corners Shootout. 

“Our team motto this year is, we’re either winning or we’re learning,” Lone Tree coach Ryan Shelman said. “We’re going to have to learn from the opportunities that are given to us. And we’re just going to keep getting better and better every night.”

Lone Tree held Keota to eight points or fewer in each quarter on Saturday after surrendering 68 to Iowa Valley the night before. 

“We had some opportunities to work on some things and we had conversations about how to fix some of the imperfections that we had last night,” Shelman said. “And I saw a lot of those improvements already, just in one night’s time. But we still know that we have to keep moving forward and just keep getting better and working on us. But I’m really proud of how the girls bounced back.”

Sophomore Avery Lisk came out firing on Saturday, she banked in a three-pointer for the first points of the game and had five points during the Lady Lions’ 7-0 start. Lisk stole the ball and scored on a breakaway in the second quarter and scored the first points of the second half to put Lone Tree on top 24-14. 

Chloe Mills had a couple baskets in the first half, including a put back after an offensive rebound in the second quarter. In the fourth quarter, she found Riley Krueger cutting to the basket for two easy points and a 33-24 lead. Krueger and Lisk each finished with nine points. 

“I thought we did some really nice things tonight,” Shelman said. “We’ve got to take what the defense gives us. We were patient, we were moving the ball, getting the ball interior to exterior against the zone.

 

Iowa Valley 68, Lone Tree 30

On Friday, Chown led Lone Tree with 12 points in the season opener, a 68-30 loss to Iowa Valley. Lisk had nine and freshman Riley Shield had seven in her first varsity contest. 

The Lady Lions fell behind 22-11 after the opening quarter, but gave up just 10 points in the second to trail 32-21 at the half. 

“We spotted them quite a few points, obviously, to start the game,” Shelman said. “And then we came roaring back. We were still trying to figure out our lineups and trying to figure out how our rotation is going to look. It was nice, because we got to see a lot of things that we need to work on, which helped us right away.”

Iowa Valley defeated Highland 49-43 on Saturday to finish first in the annual tournament. 

‘They’re a tough team, they’re well coached, and they do good things,” Shelman said. “But I thought that one kind of got away from us just a little bit last night.”

Lone Tree (1-1) opens the conference schedule at home against Pekin on Tuesday, November 23. 

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